Review in Brief: Freshman Year/Shithouse (2020/21)

SHITHOUSE is a much better name, why’d they have to ruin our fun for the UK release? For anyone who has gone to university in the last decade or so, this ceaselessly honest portrayal of uni life – the highs and lows, but mostly the lows – will hit particularly hard. Sensitive kid Alex (Cooper Raif) is homesick and struggling to make a meaningful connection with any fellow students until he has a frank nightlong conversation fuelled by wine with Maggie (Dylan Gelula). But how will Alex process this formative experience if this turns out to be a one-night-only deal? Writer-director-star Raif makes all this look pretty effortless and natural and has a really good match in Gelula, both teasing out layers in this story of different experiences of growing up. As a whole the film brings a pleasingly meandering, unexpectedly profound mix of cringe comedy and heartfelt drama, peppered with welcome touches of mild surrealism. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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